Two months ahead of the Los Angeles Rams – Dallas Cowboys preseason game this August, Rams starting safety John Johnson and former Rams and UH Warrior star Pisa Tinoisamoa and the Rams Cheerleaders visited Oahu to host special youth football and cheer clinics, as well as engage with the Hawai’i community.
These efforts, and other Rams community outreach events were all encouraged and supported by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority( HTA ) in partnership with the Hawai’i Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) and the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). Stated HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum , “ We are pleased to provide these wonderful sports opportunities for Hawaii’s youth to engage with professional coaches and athletes . It’s an experience I know these students will long remember.”
Lahainaluna High School, the Division II state championship team , received an invitation from HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann to the all-expenses paid clinic, held at Iolani School. Flights, rooms, transportation, and meals were included in the experience- thanks to the financial support from tourism tax dollars provided by HTA. “ It made all of us involved with the Rams clinics extremely happy to know that our talented student- athletes and their coaches appreciated the tourism industry’s kokua,” said Hannemann.
The other schools invited by HLTA were: Open Division finalists; St. Louis School, Mililani High School, Kahuku High School, and Campbell High School; Division I finalists, Waipahu High School and Hilo High School and the other Division II finalist, Kapa‘a High School.
“I think the experience was good for the kids, coming down to compete and getting ready for the upcoming season. Hawai’i Tourism and Junior Prep Sports put on a good clinic, and it was a great event!” said Lunas Assistant Coach Craig Wise.
“My experience was really fun, because we got to play as a team,” added Lahainaluna student – athlete TJ Galoia. “I’d like to thank the organizers for having us and for choosing us to be one of the participants in this clinic. The Rams clinic was really fun and it was worth coming down for ! “
Over the course of the weekend, the students participated in 7-on-7 passing and Big Man competitions , as well as skills stations and other drills facilitated by Junior Prep Sports and the LA Rams coaching clinic staff.
Between events, participants were also addressed by Johnson and Tinoisamoa, who spoke to the merits of goal-setting, the value of hard work, and the skills gained through team sports.
“The message I want to share is, you got to work for what you want,” said Tinoisamoa. “You have to make good choices. It’s nice to be a good football player and all that, but it’s even better to be a great human being.”
Johnson also shared some of his personal story with the students, encouraging them to remember “GAME, as an acronym: gratitude, attitude, motivation, education.”
Both Tinoisamoa and Johnson were present throughout the clinics, and provided insight, tips, and advice to the athletes from across the state.